We got a short break after that morning meeting.
Ellen and I went to Mr. Epinhausers private room, leaving our classmates, who were looking at us as if they were thinking things along the lines of ‘What the hell did they do?’, behind.
“After securing it in a safe space in which the sword’s power cannot run rampant, several wizards are studying it.”
It seemed that Temple was very thorough with their safety measures so that the sword’s curse wouldn’t affect anyone or anything else.
“First of all, for now, the sword belongs to you, but there is a possibility that your ownership might get revoked.”
Mr. Epinhauser confirmed that I had ownership over the sword for the moment.
Temple was assessing the item for me.
However, there was only one reason why my ownership might get revoked:
The item was much too dangerous to be allowed to be held by an individual.
Understandable. It did destroy a whole village and turn the surrounding areas into a land where corpses turned into zombies.
However, that sword never actually appeared in the original.
If we hadn’t solved the issue, someone else would have done it—it didn’t have to be us. The cursed sword was dangerous, but we were able to deal with it on our own. If people with a much higher degree of skill than us dealt with that case, it would have been resolved easily.
Of course, there were a lot of complex conditions at work there, but I didn’t think that it was an issue that no one but us could have solved.
We had just happened to take care of an issue that would have been resolved anyway just a bit earlier—that’s what it felt like, at least.
“Currently, they are considering disposing of the item. I felt like I had to inform you two.”
They were considering disposing of the sword because it was too dangerous. That would mean that the cursed sword would completely disappear from the fringes of the story.
“Did you find out what that sword is?”
At Ellen’s question Mr. Epinhauser swept his hair back and folded his hands.
“No, not much has been elucidated yet except for the fact that a very unconventional curse was placed on it.”
Eleris also said that, due to the nature of curses, nothing much could be found out about them.
—Because their cause and effect were very different from each other. However, Temple had come to the same conclusion.
Eleris’s brief examination and Temple’s detailed analysis led to the same conclusion in the end?
“One might judge that Temple’s power is insufficient, but I am rather confident that this is not the case. Temple, as you may remember, has a curriculum centered around black magic, albeit limited. In other words, warlocks who have mastered the black arts serve as instructors in this institution.”
I was aware of that. Black magic was seen as evil, but in the end, it was one of the most powerful magical systems of all time. So, although limited, Temple gave lectures on black magic as well.
So there naturally were people who could teach the subject—warlocks that served as instructors. Of course, the staff consisted of clean warlocks who hadn’t caused any social controversy.
In fact, Class B’s Anna de Gerna, someone with a talent for black magic, was calmly studying black magic in Temple.
Of course, there was a setting in place that the careers of black magic majors had to be clean, although they were seen as a minority in the world of magic. Because of that, warlocks preferred to stay hidden in the shadows sometimes.
It wasn’t like Temple was ignorant of black magic.
They were even more knowledgeable about curses than Eleris.
However, even though they knew so much, they still couldn’t find out what that cursed sword was.
“They say that the power sealed in the sword is too ancient for them to find out anything detailed about. In other words, the curse, and the ancient magic associated with it, aren’t used in our current era anymore. Therefore, it’s rather difficult to analyze it and near impossible to know what kind of power that curse might exert. Hence, currently, it has been evaluated that our best move would be to dispose of it as soon as possible after researching it properly.”
Anyway, they had ultimately decided that the cursed sword was too suspicious and dangerous to allow me to use it.
“Of course, as we are essentially taking away something that belongs to you, depending on what is decided in the faculty meeting, you will be given an item that has been judged to be of considerable value, although we cannot be sure if its value will be similar to the sword. However, we can promise to provide you with a piece of equipment of at least A rank or higher.”
Still, Temple took my situation into consideration as well, so it seemed like they were trying to appease me with another item.
But it was still disappointing.
I wasn’t affected by the sword’s curse to begin with, so I could use that sword without a problem. Of course, I couldn’t be sure that nothing dangerous would happen just because I was holding it.
That cursed sword was even more ancient than I had initially thought. However, in the end, they weren’t able to identify its origins, so they would just discard it after they researched it.
An ancient item that even warlocks had no knowledge of…
“Do you have something to tell me?”
I wasn’t that greedy for that cursed sword. While it was a top-notch piece of equipment, if I were to receive an Rank piece of equipment, that would be like getting handed a treasure. I had no reason to refuse if they decided to give me something like that.
But it sure was a shame.
I was pretty sure that the sword was something much too good to just miss.
Even if they were going to throw it away, I wanted to first know what it was before it got discarded.
An old curse…
A practical skill…
“If it’s ancient magic…“
One last possibility came to my mind.
“Sorcery… Could it be something like that?”
An ancient power that no one had information about, even inside of Temple, and therefore couldn’t be taught to anyone.
“So how about we ask Class B’s Dettomolian to analyze it just in case?”
I had a strong feeling that Class B’s sorcery talent, Dettomolian, might be able to figure out what that cursed sword was.
Or maybe not.
Mr. Epinhauser responded only lukewarmly to my suggestion that we should try to find out the sword’s origins using sorcery.
One could never know what would happen if one used an unknown power to probe something one had no information about.
He said that he would have a word with Mr. Mustrang and Dettomolian before he sent us back.
The hallway on our way back to the classroom.
“Do you really need that sword?”
Ellen still seemed apprehensive towards me keeping the sword. That was only natural, as it was cursed and ominous.
“It’s a waste to just throw it away without knowing what it is.”
Although I was able to use it, it would just get thrown away. Ellen still seemed unhappy but didn’t want to act too stubbornly.
As it was the start of the second semester, the physical scan intended to measure our physical data replaced our first class.
That’s right, it was just a physical examination. Of course, its focus was more on checking how much one’s physical abilities had improved than just making it a regular physical examination. After entering the measuring room, touching the physical scanner, and undergoing some tests, each person’s physical abilities were announced on a bulletin board.
Even during the semester, that information would be constantly updated, as those scans were a monthly occurrence.
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[Magical Power 12.8(C+)] [Stamina 13(C+)]
[Self-Suggestion] [Magic Sensitivity]
My physical data had risen slightly ever since I returned from the Darklands. I had been about to enter the period in which my growth would slow down, but then I had received that trait from Ellen, Hero’s blood, which allowed me to easily overcome that period.
It was an overall even improvement. If compared to my stats from the beginning of the first semester, it could be used as an ideal example of physical growth.
If I strengthened my body with Self-Suggestion, they might even go up to B-.
The rank of Self-Suggestion had also risen quite a bit, so the reinforcement it granted was quite substantial.
Thinking about the time when my physical abilities were still shown as F and D, I felt kind of nostalgic.
I was going to imprint my third talent soon.
Unless something big happened, it would be a talent related to magic.
“Erich! You’ve grown a lot, you punk!”
“Hmm… Is that so? I still have a long way ahead of me.”
Kono Lint hit Erich on his shoulder when he saw his updated physical data table. I did hear that he worked out during the vacation.
‘Let me check.’
9 Erich de Lafaeri
[Magical Power 4.10(F+)]
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[Divine Power -]
[Divine power] [Swordsmanship] [Martial Arts]
Did he just do some weight training?
That bastard wasn’t really interested in those kinds of things at first, so his old physical data wasn’t even good to begin with, but he had definitely improved.
His agility, dexterity, and stamina were too far behind his other stats. ‘Dude, you have to grow in a balanced manner.’
Still, Erich’s strength was higher in rank than mine. Although his potential was overflowing, he never put any effort into anything, so I had no idea why that deadbeat decided to try now.
He had more talents than before, but he had neglected training his divine powers to the point that he didn’t even get a rank for it.
“Hey, if you keep this up, won’t you reach first place in no time?”
“Come on, how could that be?”
Erich shrugged his shoulders at the praise of his brothers, acting humble. ‘Speaking of, what about Kono Lint?’
I was rather sure that his stats were freaking bad.
8 Kono Lint
[Magical Power 1.4(F-)] [Stamina 4(F+)]
Even the words “freaking bad” weren’t enough to describe it.
Didn’t the physical training we had to do in our common classes show any results?
He wasn’t like Erich. That guy got put into the Royal Class purely because of his supernatural powers while having such abilities, right?
Kono Lint’s physical abilities weren’t even as good as mine in my first semester there.
No, I didn’t plan on looking at those pieces of garbage to begin with.
[Magical Power 27.2()]
[Weapon mastery] [Mana Control]
At the beginning of the first semester, most of Ellen’s stats were at B-rank, but almost all of them had reached rank. She was getting closer and closer to the limits of a human being, so her growth was somewhat slower compared to someone like me.
As we got closer to those limits, our rate of growth was bound to decrease. The Hero’s blood wasn’t an ability that allowed one to simply push past the limits of man.
Although none of our classmates could have been her equal in the first semester as well, it was clear that she had grown stronger.
If she were to use magic body strengthening, her physical abilities would explosively improve.
I wasn’t sure by how much, but I wondered if she would be able to go up to S-rank when using it. If one thought about it that way, she really was a tremendous monster.
All the others were looking at Ellen’s physical stats and were bound to just stare wide-eyed. She had been a monster before, but she was even more of a monster.
Of course, Ellen Artorius wasn’t interested in that. She was just sitting in her seat, staring blankly at the blackboard with her chin resting on one hand.
* * *
Even though we had reached our second semester, the contents of our common classes were pretty much the same. As it was still summer, our P.E. class was still replaced by swimming classes.
At the start of the first semester, I was completely drained by the P.E classes, but after vacations, I was able to handle the curriculum without too much difficulty.
That day, there were some that didn’t return after class and just stayed in the classroom.
-This one, let’s take that class.
-Yeah, yeah. I think that’ll be quite fun.
Adelia and Harriet, who wanted to apply for the same lectures, and Ellen and I did that. The three idiot brothers were also talking among each other, probably trying to take the same classes as well, although they were of different majors.
Ellen filled in her course registration form at her seat and immediately left the classroom.
No, that was it?
I immediately got up from my seat and called out to Ellen, who was on her way to the teacher’s office. “H-hey!”
That girl just tilted her head as if there was something wrong with me.
Wasn’t that a bit sad, huh?!
“Hey, shouldn’t we also discuss which classes we should take together?”
During those times, we had gotten so much closer that I had completely forgotten how awkward she was. Now that I think about it, even when we got closer during our first semester, we had never even made proper eye contact when we met in the hallways or anything.
“…Why do we have to take the same lectures?”
I felt like she probably didn’t understand what being close had to do with attending the same classes.
She was someone who had trouble with the social aspects of life. It had been a while since I felt it. She was rather slow when it came to those things.
Yeah, there wasn’t any reason for us to go to the same classes. Strictly speaking, we didn’t have to. Erm. Yeah. Obviously.
“If there are any classes that overlap, then we could go to them together!”
She wasn’t a supernatural power user, but even if she couldn’t go to the supernatural power classes, we could still take swordsmanship classes together!
“…Do you want me to show you?”
Ellen showed me her course registration form as I made a fuss.
She didn’t know why I was so angry, but it seemed like she didn’t mind if I wanted to go to the same classes as her. It felt kind of strange how she showed me her registration form so casually.
Why did I feel like I was kind of obsessed about that?
No, was that obsession?
S-still… wasn’t it good to have someone one was close with in one’s course? Wasn’t it like that?
Wasn’t she acting like someone who didn’t really care about me?
Even though I had such thoughts running through my mind, I wrote down the swordsmanship class Ellen had applied for as well as the Demon Ecology class. Her timetable contained various individual professor’s lectures on magic enhancement instead of Mana Sensitivity Classes, meaning they were classes that I couldn’t take with her.
“By the way…”
Ellen looked at me and asked something as she watched me fill out my registration form in the hallway.
“Do you want to be together with me so badly?”
It felt like she was asking me because she was really curious, not because she wanted to tease me.
“We’re always together anyway. We’ve been training together as well:”
Do you want to be with me so bad that you even want to take the same classes as me, even though we are practically together all the time regardless of our classes? Why?
That was probably what she was thinking.
There were no signs that she was trying to tease me like saying ‘Do you like me that much?’
So my guess was that she was really just curious.
Was she actually a real monster who was unable to understand a human’s mind? What was she even saying to me?
Cold sweat was running down my spine because I felt a form of shame that is rather hard to describe.
“Doesn’t matter. Get out of here!”
I had seen Ellen getting upset from time to time but that was the first time I got upset.
And the fact that I was so upset with a kid made me want to hide myself in a hole.